"The Importance Of Being Earnest" By Oscar Wilde: Algernon Montcrieff A Character Analysis

1329 words - 5 pages

It is a well known phenomenon that many authors' lives are reflected through a character in their work. In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, the double life, or double identity, can be seen as the central metaphor in the play, epitomized in Algernon's creation of "Bunbury" or "Bunburying". As this term is the only fictitious word employed throughout the text, it is crucial to critically analyze not only its use and implications, but more importantly, the character who coins the term; Algernon Moncrieff. In addition, it is also significant to note the marked differences between Algernon and Jack's perceptions of the notion of bunburying, as it further develops Algernon's character within the text. But perhaps the single most significant characteristic of Algernon is that his idea of bunburying can be seen as a metaphor within itself for Wilde's own double life, both as a married upper class socialite in Victorian England, and as closet homosexual. In this sense, it can truly be argued that, "Wilde's work and his self were always inseparable - to others, and to him" (Daniel, 63).The first instance in which the reader is introduced to, and given and explanation of the notion of Bunburying reveals a number of noteworthy aspects about Algernon, the character who coins the term and is the first to employ the word within the text. As defined by Algernon, Bunburying is the art of producing and intricate deception that allows a character to evade responsibility and misbehave while seeming to maintain a high Victorian standard of duty and responsibility. According to Daniel, "Bunburying is quite simply what Shakespeare would call a lie direct" (Daniel, 59). Since "Bunbury is not a real person, but the made-up story of a sickly old friend who has Algernon perpetually on call whenever Algernon wants an excuse not to do something - usually a social obligation - he ought, or is expected to undertake" (Daniel, 2004, 59), this lends great insight into the character of Algernon himself and his apparent views on life. Algernon is clearly aware of the social responsibilities he is obliged towards, such as dining with relatives, but feels life simply cannot be enjoyed properly without the deceitful creation of a vehicle which he can employ willingly to relieve himself from these social inconveniences.Furthermore, Algernon not only feels it is necessary to act as a Bunburyist when in trying to evade every-day social obligations, but has very strong feelings as to Bunburying in relation to the ultimate social obligation, that is, marriage. Algernon states that, "Nothing will induce me to part with Bunburry, and if you ever get married, which seems to me extremely problematic, you will be very glad to know Bunburry. A man who marries without knowing Bunburry has a very tedious time of it", and that "...in married life three is company and two is none" (Wilde, 7). Algernon is clearly a character that embodies the notion of aestheticism and is depicted as...

Find Another Essay On "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde: Algernon Montcrieff - A Character Analysis

Matriarchal Figures in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Persuasion by Jane Austen

2761 words - 11 pages Matriarchal Figures in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Persuasion by Jane Austen ‘A dominant female member of the family’[1] is often described as a matriarch. Lady Bracknell in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and Lady Russell in ‘Persuasion’ fulfill this role therefore can be described as matriarchs, and as such they play vital roles. They affect the lives of Gwendolen and Anne, by imposing their beliefs on them

A Tale Of Three Classes. A Marxist Criticism on 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde

1396 words - 6 pages as the play 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde. In this play Wilde display's the class structure with a different and interesting twist. He makes a reflection on the society with his own sense of humor, but however it still leaves a very good opportunity to make a Marxist critique about the way the class structure influences the play. He leaves room for these critiques when he writes about the servants, the nobles, and the middle

Hypocrisy of the Aristocracy in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

1680 words - 7 pages Oscar Wilde satires the hypocrisy and stupidity2 of the strict Victorian aristocracy through the characters in The Importance of Being Earnest. It can be argued that the women of the play usurp the masculine power and this itself is what makes up the comedy as it would have been humorous to a patriarchal audience. Lady Bracknell is the archetypal of the absolute height of a society woman while both Gwendolyn and Cecily’s characters show

Satirical Comments in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

1160 words - 5 pages Cecily to show that Victorian people’s minds can be changed when they find out a specific person has a lot of money. Wilde shows us that Lady Bracknell is trying to keep an upper class reputation by trying to marry Algernon and Cecily. Oscar Wilde shows his concern for Victorian society through Lady Bracknell’s changing thoughts. Oscar Wilde shows concern for the Victorian people through “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Wilde’s concern with

Exploring Social Class in Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

1673 words - 7 pages undermines the values and conventions of the savages. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde is a comedy, and this is important because in Poetics, by Aristotle, comedy is defined as ' an imitation, of characters of a lower type, not however, in the full sense of the word bad, the ludicrous being merely a subdivision of the ugly. It consists in some defect or ugliness which is not painful or destructive'. It is therefore the aim of a

Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest

588 words - 2 pages to tell you that you are not down on my list of eligible young men…however, I am quite ready to enter your name, should your answers be what a really affectionate mother requires.” (Pg. 12) By using the characterization of Lady Bracknell, Oscar Wilde creates a larger comedic affect in the play.      In “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde uses the character Algernon to depict Satire. Algernon is a very arrogant

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

1823 words - 7 pages In Oscar Wilde’s satire, The Importance of Being Earnest, he engages the audience with a profound amount of conflicting dialogue starting with the title. The importance of being Ernest is quite a different meaning than the importance of being earnest. Wilde demonstrates a considerable amount of wit to unfold the importance of being both Ernest and earnest. The play centers on a young man named Jack, who incidentally has created an alter ego

Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest

3042 words - 12 pages Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde is a legendary author who has composed many great plays including The Green Carnation and A Woman of No Importance, however, The Importance of Being Earnest was undoubtedly the most famous of his works. First published in 1930, yet acknowledged since the late 1800s, The Importance of Being Earnest helped to revive the theater tradition of Congreve and Sheridan. The story is a

Compare how settings and societies are essential to the mood in 'The Great Gatsby' by F Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde

2916 words - 12 pages the complexity of life, while in the country there is a mood of openness and exposure.The fight to win a woman by using the impression of wealth and money is clearly seen in both 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and 'The Great Gatsby'. In Wilde's play, both Algernon and Jack are trying to marry. Algernon is determined to wed Cecily and to do so must persuade Jack that he is a worthy suitor. Although Jack's main reasoning for not allowing the

Portrayal of Pride, ego and manipulation in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare and The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

2664 words - 11 pages and ego was used against him to humiliate him.We have also seen how disguise has been used to manipulate people in this comedy. But, the one that stands out is the gulling of Malvolio which shows that you should never be proud or egotistical.THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNESTIn this play written by Oscar Wilde, pride is shown most appropriately. Oscar Wilde uses pride to describe the society of that period. He tries to show that people married among

Explore the extent to which Oscar Wilde uses satire as a didactic tool in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, ‘An Ideal Husband’ and ‘The portrait

1066 words - 5 pages ://philosophynow.org/issues/65/Wilde_and_Morality 18 http://www.freetopessays.com/content/victorian-dual-nature-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde 19 http://modernism.research.yale.edu/wiki/index.php/Oscar_Wilde 20 http://www.nairaland.com/386574/20-great-oscar-wilde-quotes 21 http://hollowverse.com/oscar-wilde/#footnote_8_8434 22 http://www.novelguide.com/the-importance-of-being-earnest/theme-analysis 23 http://www.gradesaver.com/the-importance-of-being-earnest/study

Similar Essays

Play: The Importance Of Being Earnest, By Oscar Wilde

1219 words - 5 pages Marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest is a play by Oscar Wilde. Oscar describes his play as A Trivia comedy for serious people. The protagonists in the play maintains being fictitious in order to escape burdensome social obligations. The play is lighthearted with flippant comments and offhand jokes, however the play contains serious undertones and social commentary about marriage and the society. Oscar

The Importance Of Being Earnest, By Oscar Wilde

1454 words - 6 pages In The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde revealed that animalistic traits can tint a character’s intellectual attributes. All of the characters possess an overwhelming desire which seems to diminish their morality. Wilde uses Jack Worthing’s animalistic behaviors to reveal that his animal self is damaging his intellectual self. The play is presented to show that the characters retain an exaggerated pleasure with food, which shows their

The Importance Of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde

1169 words - 5 pages The Importance of Being Earnest was one of Wilde’s Victorian melodramas. There are plenty elements of satire, intellectual travesty, a comic take on Victorian manners and an appealing superficial-ness that makes it a light comedy. Behind this charade of humor though lie deeper, more serious undertones. The play is a take at the extreme hypocrisy and cloying moralism’s that were distinct marks of the Victorian era. In Act I of The Important of

Oscar Wilde V/S "The Importance Of Being Earnest"

1265 words - 5 pages Earnest can be protected from the public and the critics who may use morbid as an adjective when describing Oscar Wilde’s work.IVThe Language in The importance of being EarnestIn this play, the character’s use of language may be analyzed as an immense social mock. Wilde, using his great lexical knowledge, puts in the mouths of all characters a refined and extremely witty vocabulary. These characters have no shame in using this vocabulary to